May 28, 2024

Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights to Jeff Nichols‘ “The Bikeriders,” ending a short period of producer New Regency shopping the finished film to studios. The crime period piece, which premiered at Telluride this fall, was initially set up for an awards-friendly Dec. 1 release by 20th Century Studios, but it was removed from Disney’s calendar in recent weeks.

Sources informed Variety that it was New Regency’s decision — not Disney’s — to seek a new distributor. The production company also opted to remove “The Bikeriders” from the Disney calendar due to its actors’ inability to promote the feature, which carries a $40 million production budget, during the SAG-AFTRA strike.

“The Bikeriders” is now eyeing a 2024 release. Focus will handle distribution in North America, while Universal Pictures International has the global rollout.

“We are delighted to add such a riveting project to next year’s strong slate of films,” Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski said in a statement. “We look forward to once again working alongside New Regency and reuniting with the multi-talented Jeff Nichols on another one of his visionary projects. This film exemplifies our commitment to collaborate with the industry’s best filmmakers and production partners, and we can’t wait to build upon its early success to draw audiences into this poignant film bolstered by powerful performances from an incredible cast.”

“We are excited to team up again with our Focus Features partners and look forward to another successful collaboration,” Yariv Milchan, chairman and CEO of New Regency, said in a statement. “And we couldn’t be prouder of ‘The Bikeriders,’ Jeff Nichols and all the talent he has brought together to create this truly exceptional film.”

Set in the ’60s, “The Bikeriders” stars Jodie Comer and Austin Butler as a married couple involved in a rambunctious, greasy biker gang ruled by a hot-blooded leader (Tom Hardy).

The Jeff Nichols film earned positive reviews out of the Telluride Film Festival, with Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge among one of the most enthusiastic supporters, writing ““it goes a long way to humanize figures who’ve been long misrepresented on film, while giving audiences privileged access to this inner world.”

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